When I first saw CyreneQ’s lenses, I was immediately struck by how fun and quirky each individual one was. From bearded dragons hanging out on your face, to a literal croc on your foot, each one is joyful, unique, and ultimately shareable.
I caught up with Cyrene, who’s used Snapchat since its inception, to learn more about her inspiration. Some highlights of our conversation are below.
Q: How long have you been using Snapchat? When did you start making your own lenses?
A: I’ve been using Snapchat since 2013. Back then, there were no augmented reality capabilities, it was just a picture messaging app…I [could] draw on top of pictures easily and send it to multiple people. I think that was the start of my interest in augmenting my reality.
Side note: Check out Cyrene’s amazing and informative YouTube channel for some of her original content and innovated new ideas! See one of her earliest videos below.
I started experimenting with Snapchat Lens Studio the first day it was released and subsequently published my first lens that same day. I quickly YouTube’d how to create 3D models and I made a rough, but I think hilarious, first even attempt lens. It was a bouncing head of myself.
Q: Tell us a bit about your experiences creating lenses — what about them appeals to you, and what kinds of lenses do you like creating?
A: Lenses help me bring my imagination to life. I like to create lenses based on the story I want to tell that day…I have a lens when I show a story of my pet turtles. I have lenses celebrating certain holidays, current events — lenses and art play a big part on the way I communicate.
Q: In what ways do your lenses currently use machine learning?
A: Machine learning is an amazing and powerful feature. I haven’t dabbled into it too much. I have some lenses that use ML, but just like any other feature, I use ML [only] if it enhances my storytelling…for example, this crocodile biting the feet lens uses ML feet recognition.
Q: As a Lens Studio Creator, what opportunities do you think a tool like SnapML provides?
ML makes the possibilities of AR endless. Since you are able to teach Lens Studio to recognize anything, creators aren’t limited to what’s currently provided. I think it’s great!
Q: Do you think Snapchat will only increase in popularity in the future or die off like other social media platforms have? Why or why not?
I’ve always seen Snapchat as more than a social media platform. It’s a technology company. It’s pushing and innovating the way we communicate through pictures, videos, and now through augmented reality. Snapchat is usually one of the first to come up with a new feature and others follow.
I think their push for innovation makes them different from other social media platforms, and their technology is already reaching beyond their own app through SnapCamera and SnapKit. I don’t think they are going away anytime soon.